Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Bradbury Challenge Week #5

3500 Words Per Pound Weekly Update I’m a little late on getting this weekly update done. It’s more of a personal goal than anything else, but for the few people that check this out weekly, thanks. I notice you, and I appreciate you. Here’s to a great week, and let’s hope I shake off this horrible cold. Home sick today and seeing the doctor this afternoon for this awful sore throat and cough, which is how I’m able to even catch up and write this at all. I’m still going strong in the Bradbury Challenge—still writing one short story a week. And that’s probably the longest I’ve held to any particular goal or challenge I’ve set forth to do, so I’m pretty proud that this is something that I’ve not only been consistent with, I’ve managed to make into a daily/weekly practice. I say daily/weekly because I do work on it most days of the week, but not every day, and mostly on nights/weekends. But it goes to show that a little bit done every day, even 20 minutes or half an hour can add up to a whole story a week.
Or hours I’m “tutoring” in the computer lab. I’m supposed to be there as a writing tutor for college students, except no one ever, or hardly ever, shows up, so I have a lot of time on the computer to get some things done. I just don’t have recording space—it’s too public. But, anyway, I get to sit in the computer lab, listen to music and write and get paid so it’s definitely not all bad. Same philosophy of “a little bit adds up” can be applied to exercise too, one of my other goals I’m working and promptly failed at right after the first big snowfall. Haven’t got back on the exercise wagon, yet. Although, in related news, just finished “Walking Your Blues Away,” by Thom Hartman, and I really recommend it for a variety of reasons: it’s a well-crafted book with a well-developed argument, and it posits this bilateral movement theory unique to walking that I find just fascinating. In a nutshell, the right-left movement of walking helps stimulate the healing process for emotional trauma, PTSD and depression/anxiety (all of which I have been diagnosed with) and I do find walking to be helpful for these things, not to mention just enjoyable and how I get my audiobook and podcast time in. I do have a bit of a bias; I’m an ardent Thom Hartman fan because I’ve been a listener of his radio show for over a decade now. But I’m a listener and reader precisely because I believe he is an intelligent philosopher, among other roles, that make his books share-worthy. So that’s my mini book review.
Watching Saturday Morning Cartoons #1 I’ve started watching Saturday Morning Cartoons again and I think I have to blame this part on my nostalgia streak that’s been running through me—I think partly because I think as you get older the more you long for the things that made you happy when you were younger---and partly because of reading Ready Player One, which in itself is a giant 80’s nostalgia fest. First up are Jem and the Holograms. This was, hands down, my ultimate favorite show in 1986. Music was everything in 1986, and Jem and Holograms capitalized on that in a big “girl power” kind of way. Because of my misophonia, I often turn the sound down to my most comfortable volume, so I keep the closed captioning on, which is also a habit I picked up in grad school, it’s great way to keep yourself fresh when it comes to writing dialogue. And I have to say, I think there were some great writers on that show. I’d like to research more into this. Yes, I know there was the movie remake and all, but I heard mixed reviews about it. I’ll have to judge for myself one day. Nothing can recapture the feeling of dreaminess of sitting on the floor imagining having a pair of magic holographic earrings that could transform you into a superstar, and let you live a life a glamor, glitter, fashion and fame. And music. Let’s not forget the music.
Tales From the Darkside Season 2 Moving away from glitter and gold, there’s a different kind of nostalgia I’ve been immersing in, and that’s horror nostalgia. Although completely cheesy and even quaint by today’s standards, I remember cutting my horror teeth on George Romero’s Tales from the Darkside, and I’ve recently started watching Season 2 on VRV. It reminds me a lot of Twilight Zone episodes, just set against eh backdrop of the 1980’s, and early 90’s, with a few young and breakout stars making occasional appearances. It’s so strange, even to someone who grew up in a pre-digital world, to see that world again, and muse about how our horrors and the things we fear haven’t change. It’s like the old saying, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Take the episode about dirty laundry, titled “It All Comes Out In the Wash.” The players may change, but the characters are immortal, and it could easily take place in Ancient Greece or 16th century France or today. That’s what makes a good story good. It may be cheesy, but the stories are good.
The rabbit hole of political fan fiction Did I find some strange bedfellows here! Literally. I had no idea, at least not overtly, that political fan fiction was really even a thing. I guess on some level I must have known that everything has a fiction attached to it, or a level of fandom and devotion in its own little corner of the world, so I should have guessed, but okay, wow. It first started when I found this piece called The Arrangements, by CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE (all hail Ms. Adichie!) which creates a fiction based on what Melania Trump’s inner thoughts and inner life must be like. Loosely based on “Mrs. Dalloway” by Virginia Woolfe. And that’s all it took. I was hooked. I wanted to know if there was more. Maybe not on the same level but it does exist out there. I started here: https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/the-political-erotica-of-2016 and also here https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/12/the-fanfictionalization-of-politics/282417/ as well as a few stories in An Archive of Our Own, but if you know of any treasure troves out there, please let me know!
Current projects Well, first I felt like I could write my political fiction, too. I’m having a rough time with everything, still and the first thing anyone tells you are to write about it, and I like to make up stories for a living, as we’ve established, so why not combines the two? I would be focusing on the women that surround this Administration. I’m currently also working on getting some outlines done for some reader’s theatre scripts for the upper elementary grades at school. I’m just doing the outlines, though because while I want the scripts to have structure, I want the kids to do the actual writing parts. It should be their work, not mine. I’m just a guide in this respect. This week’s short story is based on a call for stories that look for romance within Poe’s stories, so that will be an interesting challenge. Definitely want to do something outside of “Poor Lenore.” I’ll have to comb through and see what strikes me. That’s the part I like about this too, is research. I do love me some research, and I always learn something new. Writing is a discovery process. Women in Horror Month. Also writing some flash fiction about some of my favorite ladies in horror films. Tragically backlogged but hope to be up with that soon.
Reading challenges I think I’ve mostly caught up with my reading challenges. I’m trying to hit a goal of 100 books read this year, and I’m keep track on Goodreads, if you’d like to see some of my progress and my reviews there. I just finished a book this morning (Tuesday February 6, 2018) for the 4th grade class I’m working with called The Fourteenth Goldfish and I admit I don’t read a lot of middle grade books. A lot of YA and New Adult but not middle grade, and this book was fantastic and got 5 stars from me. It was sweet, a quick read for me (although I do try to put myself into a fourth grade readers mind and slow down a little, it’s hard because I read this book in about an hour) and it has such an outstanding positive message for middle grade students with a quirky-be yourself and focus on what’s possible message, I just loved it. Life is a buffet. There’s so much! Did I bite off more than I chew, metaphorically speaking here? Yeah, probably. But I’m not going to let it bother me and I’m going to get done what I can and aspire to do what I can do. Because I can’t go back to the alternative which is doing nothing and then complaining that I never get anything done, and 2018 isn’t the year for that. I feel things changing and I want to keep it that way.

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